Page 5

Part Five - Glowing 'Coals'

The 'coals' were made with four shapes. (You may find it easier to temporarily group all flame objects at this point, but not the black background rectangle).

Step 1. First draw a rough shape. Give it an Elliptical fill (simple, fade). With Dk Orange in the centre and Black on the outside edge. Move the whole elliptical fill upwards a little if necessary (by shifting centre fill handle) so that the centre fill handle is just on the bottom edge of your fire, indicating more heat there.

Then give it a Fractal Plasma transparency. Values used were: mix, repeating tile, start 50% - end 100%, 84 dpi, Fractal Scale 30%, with a standard transparency Profile 2. This is just a background shape which I left in as it plugs a few 'holes' in the final effect. Give it a 7 pixel feather and send it behind the flame objects, just above the large Black and Med Red elliptical filled rectangle.

Step 2. Clone this shape and change the centre colour to Med Orange . I Added a ramp colour quite near to the outside edge in Dk Red (by double clicking on the horizontal fill line and selecting the colour from the colour bar).

Then change the transparency to a rougher texture. I used a bitmap transparency with 'Fractal1.jpg' (which I believe was a fill I downloaded from the website from the Misc folder). Values used were: mix, repeating tile, start 0% - end 100%, 144 dpi. I then gave it a transparency profile of -0.5 in both the top and bottom boxes to make it a little more grainy. Send this shape backwards to just above the previous shape. Lastly, copy this shape to the clipboard. (Optional: you can change the Black outside edge colour to Dk Red, which produces a rougher outline to the coals).


Step 3. Clone this shape, making the centre fill colour Med Yellow, and change the ramp colour to Red Orange moving this ramp colour a little nearer to the centre.

I kept the same transparency but altered the dpi to 70 and the transparency profile to -0.76 in the top box and 0 on the bottom box.

Hold down the minus button (on the numeric keypad) and click on the shape with the selector tool; then by dragging centre bottom selection bound handle upwards, reduce the height slightly to give a rougher lower edge with a more graduated colour change. (Holding down the minus button stops the fill and transparency from being resized too). Send this shape backwards to just above the previous shape.


Step 4. Finally, paste the shape from Step 2. in the same position (SHIFT+CTRL+V). Change the centre colour to Dk Orange then move the Dk Red ramp a bit colour closer to the centre.

The transparency is unchanged from Step 2., except I nudged the centre transparency handle upwards by a few pixels to create more of a pattern of light and dark, (I tried nudging the transparency in different directions, as moving the darker colours of this shape towards the fire seemed odd, but this way simply produced the best pattern. Just experiment for whatever is best for you). Reduce the height (in the same way as in Step 3.) to something similar to the height of the Step 3. shape. Send this shape backwards to just above the previous shape.

You should now have four shapes overlaying each other in order and behind the flames. I did a bit of tweaking afterwards, moving ramp colours/fill handles in and out etc.

Part Six - The Wooden Logs

This was a bit tricky but I managed to keep it relatively simple with 6 objects. The idea is to create a bark textured shape that glows a bit around the edges, with a sort of crackled appearance that burning wood has.

Step 1. First of all draw a solid black rectangle, I found it easier to see what I was doing against a dark background.

Freehand draw a log shape (around 104 pixels width x 44 pixels height - to give a rough idea of the scale used and so match with feathers/fills etc). Use quite a low freehand smoothing to get a more knobbly outline. These first 2 shapes will define the outline glow.

The first log shape had a flat Med Orange fill with a plasma transparency of 235 dpi, start 0% - end around 85%. With a profile of 0.42 in the top box and -0.28 in the bottom box. Move the centre transparency handle around to get a pattern that you like the look of (the 'knot' in this one was a lucky accident). I slightly stretched the horizontal transparency handle along the length of the log. Give it a 2 pixel feather

Step 2. Clone this shape and change the colour to Red Orange and increase the feather to 4 pixels, keep the same transparency setting. Copy this shape to the clipboard.

Step 3. Clone again and change colour to Dk Red, set transparency to none and increase the feather to 8 pixels. This masks off the first two shapes and defines the outline glow. For a larger glow effect you can increase the feather for this shape and vice versa.

Step 4. Paste the Step 2. shape from the clipboard to the same place (CTRL+SHIFT+V). Change the colour to Black. Set the transparency to start 0% - end 100% and the transparency profile to 0.08 in the top box and -0.68 in the bottom box, set feather to 8 pixels. I also shifted the transparency down a little, by clicking on the centre transparency handle and used the arrow key to cursor down (this small change will give a slightly 3D effect when the last highlights are added).

Step 5. Clone this shape and leave colour as Black, but change the transparency to a wood effect. I used Bark6.tiff which is in the wooden fills folder from the Xara X CD. I adjusted it until I was happy with the general look. Bitmap transparency values were: mix, repeating, 100 dpi. With a transparency profile of -0.1 in the top box and -0.5 in the bottom box. Increase feather to 9 pixels, or higher for less dark areas.

This is almost complete but is missing something, so I decided to add extra highlights on the part nearest to the biggest light source (i.e. the fire) to accentuate the "knobbly" bits a little more and give it a more 3D look.

Step 6. Paste the Step 2. shape from the clipboard to the same place (CTRL+SHIFT+V) again. Change the colour to Dk Orange, and set transparency to start 0% - end 100%. I also adjusted the profile to define it a bit more (top box 0.34 bottom box -0.48). Then with the selector tool and minus button on the numeric pad held down (so that the plasma transparency doesn't also change) I resized the shape pulling upwards on the centre bottom selection bound handle making it about half normal height. I also needed to resize downwards a little using the top centre selection bound handle to make this shape's top edge align with the top edge of the log.

Group your 6 shapes and place them on the 'coals'. I placed them behind the bottom edge of most of the flame objects. If you have previously grouped the flame objects then ungroup them now so you can marquee select a few flame shapes, clone them, group them and then move them over the logs, or draw new flame shapes if you are feeling adventurous! I added a few highlights and lowlights to the 'coals' to finish off. I stopped there but you may wish to add more flame shapes to the 'coals'.

© Copyright 2002 Su Lawrence. All rights reserved.